The environmental performance of an office can have a significant impact on staff, according to new research.

A report, published by membership and networking organisation the British Council for Offices (BCO), claims there is a link between energy efficiency and improved business performance.

The BCO said the research, called 'Improving the Environmental Performance of Offices', reflected a shift in attitudes towards understand how offices actually performed environmentally rather than simply how they were designed.

It said staff costs typically accounted for circa 90 per cent of a business' costs, therefore dwarfing the one per cent represented by energy and water costs, but a focus on the latter could help improve staff productivity and business performance.

The report also suggested improved energy efficiency might represent a saving of as much as £50 per 10 sq ft.

The BCO, which holds its 2014 annual conference in Birmingham from May 14 to 16 , suggested occupant satisfaction was impacted by the environmental performance of offices and its findings highlighted the benefits of engaging occupiers when addressing energy efficiency issues.

Businesses can then gain a clear understanding of the features which are valued by employees as well as those that negatively affect them.

This should, it said, offer companies the opportunity to transform productivity levels and return significant reductions in business costs.

BCO chief executive Richard Kauntze said: "This research shows environmentally efficient offices have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and, as a result, can lead to improved business performance.

"In order to reap the rewards, companies need to ensure their offices are delivering energy efficiency.

"It represents a significant shift in attitudes, whereby the actual environmental performance of buildings is in the spotlight and the industry has moved away from focusing on the planning, design and construction of offices as a way of assessing performance."